Thursday, August 23, 2012
What a joy it is for our faculty and staff to see the progress made in their spiritual growth and development and to see them applying their education to the real task of Making Disciples in Venezuela. These good people labor in very difficult circumstances, some in extreme poverty for the sake of the Gospel. We are humbled by their example and their faithful service. They are reaching a nation for Christ and we are grateful for the partnership we have with them in ministry.
Thank you for your giving and your support. You read in our previous post about our immediate need for money to finish the Master's Classroom needed for class to begin there in January. Praise God, He has supplied that need and the construction is scheduled to begin next week.
Thank you for your prayers and your faithful giving. God is blessing the work here in Venezuela with great fruit of your labors. Glory be to God!
Saturday, August 11, 2012
Sunday, August 05, 2012
We engaged in a remarkable worship service today at Restauracion UMC in Barquisimeto, Venezuela. Ten years ago this was a congregation meeting on this corner behind a partially completed perimeter wall and a gravel floor. Now it is the largest UMC in Venezuela.
As we worshiped, there was a great outpouring of the Holy Spirit. I could not help but think: "This is what made Methodism so contagious in Great Britain and the US in the 18th and 19th centuries." We heard the spontaneous testimony of a young mother whose 2 year old son was healed of a terminal kidney disease. This was confirmed by a medical doctor. Several people came to faith in Christ.
The entire congregation was overwhelmed by the tangible presence of the Spirit as there was weeping and praying and singing and shouting and some folks so overcome by the power of the Spirit, they fell to the floor. Some were overtaken with shaking. Most, if not all, were visibly moved including this preacher. I am not a scholar of Methodist History, but this reminds me of my Methodist roots.
It also makes me weep for the church in the US to experience this outpouring of the Holy Spirit again in my lifetime. Further, it makes me wonder if I should spend the time I have left in the kind of worship we experienced today! While this church is the largest UMC in Venezuela, this kind of worship is not unique to this congregation. It is indicative of what we experience in most of the worship services here. No wonder these congregations have such a powerful witness in a pagan culture and lives are being transformed. Oh, how God must smile upon the vitality of the church here! What a blessing it is for this old man to be a part of what God is doing in this country.
Is this the only place in the world this is happening? Praise God, no. But it is happening here. Pray for more laborers in the harvest field here, especially with the Seminary. The preacher today, an associate, while a student in the Seminary, heard God's call to plant a new congregation. It is one of ten currently started by this church. The pastor and his wife are returning tomorrow from a mission trip to a neighboring country - another answer to prayer. So blessed today!!!
Thursday, August 02, 2012
Dear Friend of the Seminario Wesleyano de Venezuela,
The primary objective of this letter is to say “Thank you, and may God
bless you” for your past support. The secondary reason is to give you an
update on some of the wonderful things God is doing in Venezuela. Thank
you again for your support of this vision!
I want to invite
you to watch a video of the Mission Service of the Kentucky Annual
Conference this past June. I was privileged to preach this service and
invite people to engage in the work of mission in the world. Bishop
Lindsey Davis, our host and friend, said it was the first time in his
experience that an invitation to missionary service has ever been given
at an Annual Conference Session. God graciously moved on the
congregation, and several answered God’s call to mission in that
service. Simply “click” on this link to celebrate with us God’s
blessing on that event: https://vimeo.com/46642091
Additionally, the Conference received an offering for the construction
of a Medical Clinic on the Campus. Approximately $40,000 was given for
this cause which will allow us to break ground on this new addition to
the ministry of the Seminary. We will do that as a part of our
Graduation and 10th Anniversary Celebration Weekend later this month. We
are praying this will be the seed of the first Methodist Hospital in
Please consider giving a gift for this work. We
stretch every charitable dollar as much as possible to provide an
excellent, accessible, affordable theological education to equip pastors
and lay leaders to reach the lost of Venezuela. These students are
engaged in remarkably effective ministries resulting in countless people
coming to know Christ. This nation, and indeed the whole region, is
being eternally transformed with the Gospel of Jesus Christ!
Secondly, we are building a great team of Prayer Partners for this
ministry. The Students, Faculty and Staff are engaged in true Spiritual
Warfare, and we/they desperately need your prayer support. Dr. Gayle
Arnold, Director of Prayer Ministries, is building this remarkable team.
Please consider becoming a participant in this ministry. To volunteer,
go to http://www.facebook.com/PartnersInPrayerForVenezuelaNow?ref=ts.
We have a very full August ahead of us. Here is an abbreviated list of the major events in the life of the Seminary in August:
Dr. Dan Dunn, Academic Dean, teaching the Gospel John, Main Campus.
Warren Lathem teaching Preaching for Response II, Nirgua Extension.
The Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church, Main Campus.
Warren Lathem teaching Acts of the Apostles, Main Campus.
Graduation of 15 new graduates, Main Campus.
Celebration of the 10 Year Anniversary, Main Campus.
Groundbreaking for the Medical Campus, Main Campus.
Last month we received a great testimony from one of the students in
the Seminary. Francisco Ramon Gonzalez. This month he will receive his
Bachelor of Theology Degree after 6 years of study. He will then enroll
in our first Masters of Church Leadership degree program starting in
January. Francisco serves in the city of Valera. He was a lay person
when he started in the Seminary, but had struggled with a call to plant a
new church. It was during one of the Seminary classes in 2010 that he
finally surrendered to that call. This was primarily due to the support
of his fellow students. He has since been most happy and is active in
ministry in the new congregation he planted.
Here is his testimony:
“Hello, my brothers & sisters in Christ. Peace and blessings
and greetings to your beloved families. I thank God for his goodness
and rich blessings, and for placing in your hearts to do mission in our
country, and give us those teachings that we needed so much to put into
practice to try to change the face of this nation and reach the lost for
“I thank God for your purpose to offer the Master's
program. We ask that the All-Powerful would fill you all to the brim
with his infinite blessings.
“Concerning my experience with the
subject of sanctification, I had many erroneous concepts, some of which I
was trying to handle but others of which were unknown. John Wesley's
point of view is important. He refers to sanctification as a particular
state of sanctification, moral purity, fidelity and transparency before
God and men. This is something that must be taken seriously and we
should be concerned a great deal about entering into it
(sanctification). This dimension guarantees us a quality of life both
natural and supernatural in this life and in the life to come.”
Thank you for providing the opportunity for students like Francisco to
be both transformed by the Gospel and to have a transforming ministry in
his country. Just imagine all the children and adults we will see in
Heaven because of your faithfulness!
Last night Dan shared
with me this testimony: After a recent Evangelism Class taught by Dan,
one of the students and an associate pastor, took seriously the
material, taught his lay team an effective method of evangelism, and
took them to the local hospital. The hospitals in Venezuela typically
have no waiting area for families of patients, so the area around the
hospital is full of concerned loved ones. They shared with these
distressed and tired families the life-giving Gospel of Jesus Christ and
that day 150+/- people became followers of Jesus Christ. God is doing
amazing things in Venezuela. Thank you for your prayers and support!
Do you want your congregation to develop an excitement for missions and
make a difference in the world? Consider recruiting a team to come
help with this amazing work. Partner with what God is doing here and
make an eternal as well as temporal difference for Christ and the people
God loves, some of whom are the poorest of the poor.
make your check to Venezuela Now, Inc. and mail to PO Box 1655, Duluth,
GA 30096 or give through Pay Pal using the following link:
Thank you for all your help!
I (Warren Lathem) want to invite you to watch a video of the Mission Service of the Kentucky Annual Conference this past June. I was privileged to preach this service and invite people to engage in the work of mission in the world. Bishop Lindsey Davis, our host and friend, said it was the first time in his experience that an invitation to missionary service has ever been given at an Annual Conference Session. God graciously moved on the congregation, and several answered God’s call to mission in that service. Simply “click” on this link to celebrate with us God’s blessing on that event: https://vimeo.com/46642091
Below are several posts made on the FaceBook pages of Dan W. Dunn and Warren Lathem, in reverse chronology.. You can also see most of these on the Facebook, Partners in Prayer for Venezuela Now. Check it out.
Warren Lathem, President of the Seminary:
Had a great time with 9 of the students who came to our house after Seminary to play basketball and we fed them. Learned that this weekend the UMC Bishop, Juvenal Perez, will be in town to baptize about 50 new believers in the local Ondas de Paz UMC. This one church now has 11 students enrolled in the Seminary, many of whom will go on to plant churches. This week is beginning to more and more sound like the Book of Acts!!!
Academic Dean and Missionary Dr. Dan W. Dunn shared this yesterday on the Partners in Prayer for Venezuela Now FaceBook prayer page. Please go to it, read about the prayer and praise reports and "like" and become a Prayer Partner for this Kingdom Work God is doing in Venezuela!
Dan Dunn, Academic Dean,
God is so good! One of the pastors in class this week just shared with me that he his principal congregation has founded a new congregation - the first Sunday there were 4 people in attendance - the next Sunday there were 3 - the following week they did an intensive evangelistic campaign utilizing puppets, drama, and other means to share the good news of Jesus' love, and the following Sunday there were over 80 people in the new church, with 11 people making first-time decisions to follow Jesus - THIS is why we do what we do here - God is so good!
Warren Lathem , President
Thank you for your prayers. Today: Gospel of John Inductive Bible Study Class and Dan as he teaches, Housekeeping/Administrative work for me. Meeting with the Master's Committee tomorrow. Teaching Preaching for a Response II in Nirgua on Saturday. Pray for Donors in the US to help advance this Kingdom Building work in Venezuela. Amazing testimonies: e.g. a student who took Dan's evangelism class, implemented what he had learned, instructed his congregation in a method of evangelism, went to the local hospital to minister to the families waiting on the outside (no family/waiting rooms in hospitals here) and on one Saturday they led 150+/- people to Christ!
Dan W. Dunn, Academic Dean and Professor
you would think that after all those years I would stop trying to put God in a box! - the class I am teaching this week fulfills a course requirement that about half of our students have already fulfilled, so I was expecting between 10 and 15 students this week - 29 students came, and 8 of them are NEW STUDENTS - I am very thankful for this - please continue to pray, and thank for your prayers - they are definitely making a positive difference,
Dan W. Dunn:: a good start to the day so far at the Wesleyan Seminary of Venezuela - students are trying to discern what the central/overall message of John's gospel is, in 25 words or less; they are also trying to respond to a question I posed to them concerning what John wanted his readers to DO in response to his message - a correction concerning number of students - we have 28 students in the class instead of 29 - one of the pastors who was here yesterday was simply visiting with his friend Jesus Rivero.